We will capture Prabhakaran alive: Sri Lankan army chief


Colombo : Sri Lanka’s army chief Lt.Gen. Sarath Fonseka has vowed to “capture alive” V. Prabhakaran, the elusive leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

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The army chief, who has commanded many military operations against the LTTE in his three-decade career in the Sri Lankan army, also said that security forces were poised to recapture the rebel heartland of Mullaitivu in the north.

“The security forces are attacking Mullaitivu, Prabhakaran’s hideout, from several directions. The army’s aim is to capture Prabhakaran, who is holed up in a bunker, alive,” Fonseka was quoted as saying in an interview with the state-run Sinhala language daily, Dinamina, Wednesday.

Fonseka, who has been personally handling the military campaign against the LTTE for the last two years, said the army would “surge towards Mullaitivu and Task Force II will also be inducted into the operation”.

“The troops are attacking the LTTE’s 1-4 Base complex in a preliminary bid to reach Mullaitivu. Prabhakaran is believed to be living in an underground bunker in the area,” he said.

Commenting on the ongoing military operations in the north, the army chief stated that the troops have “already regained several hundred square kilometres where the Tigers held sway and they have to march forward another 21 kilometres to achieve the final goals”.

He added that “Prabhakaran is cowardly attacking civilians in the South, unable to face the military onslaught”. The government and the security forces, he said, were determined to liberate the people in the north as they did in the east last year.

“Our forces’ morale is very high. They are determined to achieve victory,” the army chief was quoted as saying.

Fonseka was appointed commander of the Sri Lankan Army Dec 2005, exactly a month after President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power. In April 2006, he narrowly survived a suicide bomb attack inside the army headquarters in Colombo.